One of the things my daughter Ashes has become obsessed with the past few months is the concept of the Mandela Effect.
Have you heard of it? Buzzfeed defines it in an article as: "those curious instances in which many of us are certain we remember something a particular way, but it turns out we’re incorrect."
A classic instance is the fact that some people "remember" Mickey Mouse as having suspenders, when in fact, the classic image of Mickey only has him with pants and buttons and white space where the suspenders should be. Or, the one that Ashes sent Corb and me the other day: that an entire movie called "Shazam" has been wiped out of existence and replaced with a movie called Kazaam.
The Buzzfeed article is diplomatic and attributes the cause of this "effect" as a result of parallel universes or time travel...or maybe just bad memory.
Of course, that latter possibility is ignored on the YouTube sites Ashes frequents. Instead, they ascribe more sinister motives to this "effect" and blame Big Government or some kind of future society traveling back in time to fuck things up as the culprit. Because, of course. I mean, that makes more sense, right?
Here's my personal theory. Some people are so self-absorbed these days and increasingly unable to differentiate truth from fiction that instead of admitting they were wrong, they would prefer to dream up some Big Conspiracy. That is, rather than attribute their error to:
- Lack of attention to detail
- Pure ignorance
- The fact they may have been distracted by a shiny object at some point, or
- The incident/fad/phenomena originally occurred before they were born so they really have no damn first-hand knowledge of the incident to begin with.
Why would people think there was a movie called Shazam when in fact it was called Kazaam? Think about it. Fawcett Comics created an iconic character called Shazam back in the 1940s, to compete against the popularity of Superman. All Billy Batson had to do was say the words "Shazam" and he would turn into Captain Marvel. Which, by the way, is precisely why there couldn't possibly be a movie called Shazam starring Sinbad. Ever hear of a little thing called copyright violations? (Which incidentally, was precisely the reason Shazam waned in popularity in the 1950s to begin with...DC Comics sued Fawcett, claiming the Shazam character was too close to Superman, and eventually, Fawcett stopped fighting. DC took over the character. He never was the same.)
It seems these days some people have chosen to ignore the famous adage "Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it." Instead, the prefer to re-write things to say, "Those who don't know history are being victimized by our Evil Time Overlord Masters who are trying to mess with our heads just because...well, Evil Time Overlord Masters." There's the real Mandela effect for you.
The corollary to this one is the growing number of people who would rather believe in fake news and won't actually bother to do some research to ascertain what is closer to the actual truth (that is, as close to it as we can get for anything). This one's called "the Trump Effect."